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Financial aid at GT should be primarily merit-based than need-based Hmoob_ladie


Financial aid at GT should be primarily merit-based than need-based.

Since opening its door in October of 1885 to eighty-five students, Georgia Institute of Technology has expanded to a student population of over 16,000 undergraduates and graduate students within its six colleges as of the year 2003. Of the 11,000 undergraduates, 65 percent are in-state students and 20 percent are freshmen. Sixty percent of those in-state residents receive the HOPE merit-scholarship, which calculates out to 40 percent of the total undergraduate class (“Admissions and Enrollment”). Without merit-based scholarships at Georgia Tech, many of those 40 percent would not be attending this rigorous university. Therefore, the financial aid at Georgia Tech should be primarily merit-based rather than need-based.

During Fall 2002, only 33 percent of the undergraduate class were “determined to have financial need” (“IRP-Common Data Set 2003-2004”). With the majority of the student population not in that category, financial aid should focus primarily on merit-based scholarships even though that can be difficult to do. The incoming freshmen class for the academic year of 2002-2003 had a 1336 composite SAT score compared to the national average of 1026 that same year. Merit based scholarships would benefit those who are not freshmen, who are from out-of-state or even those who have lost HOPE since first year.

Merit-based scholarship usually has some criteria that the student needs to fulfill in order to continue receiving the scholarship money. Such scholarships are like the HOPE scholarship, which requires that a 3.0 GPA be maintained while in college. This level of pressure at Georgia Tech pushes those HOPE scholars to step up in their studies and take college seriously or else they will lose a main financial backer. If all merit-based recipients were to work hard and maintain their awards, then this would have a positive effect on Georgia Tech and the state of Georgia as a whole.

USNEWS ranks Georgia Tech as number 42 in the top national universities in the nation and also sits in the top ten for top public universities. Students who keep up their GPA in order to maintain a merit-based scholarship can help raise Georgia Tech into a higher position in the national rankings as well as gives the college more prestige.

The state of Georgia will also benefit greatly for those who choose to stay in state due to the HOPE scholarship. According to a study released by the University of Georgia, professors found that three-fourths of Georgia high-school graduates who scored a 1500 or better on their SAT’s stayed in state compared to only 23% from before HOPE became instituted. Merit-scholarships such as HOPE has also increased “the states overall college enrollment by 11% … including 24% jump for black students” (Selingo 2001, 47). Those statistics go against what some critics say about state supported merit programs that have a negative effect on the quality of college education.

Need-based merit programs do not always cover everyone who really needs it. At the end of the day, the representation of a family’s financial situation only comes in numbers; there are many families who are just above the cut-off line for need-based aid and then there are also middle-class families who have a very difficult time sending their children to college without the aid of merit scholarships. Even parents who make a modest income but have multiple mouths to feed find themselves in a tough situation especially when they have more than one child in college. Merit-based scholarships help parents who have many mouths and dependents to feed, clothe, and shelter.

Merit-based aid also gives high school students an incentive to do well in school. Students who are aware of the eligibility for merit awards will focus more on doing well in high school, which will help the state and themselves when they are in college. For students who know that they will receive need-based funds they have less of a will to do well in school. Those who choose not to care about their education but can somehow manage to get into college will most likely not stay in college very long. Need-based aid questions rather students should deserve tuition money for not doing as well as they could. It is hypocrisy because in order to receive aid for being poor, one must stay poor; in order to receive aid for being intelligent, one must stay intelligent.

Merit-based award such as the HOPE scholarship enables students with above average grades to receive the education they choose without having to worry so much about money. The state of Georgia offers a HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) scholarship program, which offers financial assistance to Georgia high school student who wish to attend a college or university within state. HOPE covers tuition for those who attend a public university but will only pay a limited amount for private colleges/universities. The current eligibility requirements for traditional high school graduate include a cumulative GPA of a 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale or an 80 numeric average. HOPE assistance ends when the student achieves their Bachelor degree or attempts 127 semester/190 quarter hours (with exceptions). In order to stay eligible for the HOPE scholarship, college students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or risk the loss of a main financial backer. HOPE began in 1993 and Georgia’s Lottery for Education funds the HOPE scholarship program. (“Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program”)


Resources Used:

"FINANCIAL AID." IRP – Common Data Set 2003-2004: H. Georgia Institute of Technology: Institutional Research and Planning. 23 Jan. 2005

"Questioning the merit of merit scholarships." The Chronicle of Higher Education. Washington: Jan 19, 2001. Vol. 47, Iss. 19; pg. A20.

Evaluation by whiteviolet

I totally agree with the issues that you pointed out in your paper. I think you did a good job of covering all of the points. I like the statistics you used in your opening paragraph because it backs up what you say in the rest of you paper and it also adds legitimacy to it. The only thing I think you could add is a closing paragraph that sums up our position. Great Job!


Well written LADY. I like you argumentation with the Hope scholarship. Even though they claim that it is a need based scholarship, they still requiered a 3.0 GPA. –contributed by Azigiza.

I think you backed up your arguments with very solid data and this makes your essay informative and convincing. As a stylistic issue, it might help if you begin with a thesis, before jumping into the facts, to grab the readers attintion or at least give them a clue as to what you are talking about.
contributed by Alga

I like the way you set up your policy paper and the structure that goes with good transitions through every point.
Your arguments are well analyzed and with strong evidence. You clearly show us WHY is better to have a merit-based scholarship, but it lacks information on the need-based scholarships so I can not see really how they differ. -UncleSam

WOW! This is a very good first draft. You probably won't that much work to do on revising. Your argument is clear and concise and uses facts and statistics to back it up. These are all the elements of a good paper. The only thing I would recommend is maybe change some of the words. At times you use the same word too much but this is just a minor concern. The key word in this position is primary. Maybe you could elaborate on the idea that although financial aid should be PRIMARILY merit based, it should go to those that need the most first. This is juat a suggestion to make your argument appeal to more people. But overall a GREAT job.


I like this one. It actually reads like a final draft. You don't have much wrong with this paper, aside from the fact it needs something to help pull it together. But I'm sure that part will come easily. – GreenRose

Comments by dcorcoran:
In the first sentence, “undergraduates,” should be singular.
You say, “For students who know that they will receive need-based funds they have less of a will to do well in school,” but I don’t know if you can support this. Being poor had nothing to do with my intense determination to succeed in school/life. Intelligence is intelligence, whether rich or poor, it will show if you’ve got it.
Students that receive need-based aid still want to receive HOPE, and they still have the same incentives to do so. In my opinion, intelligent students who are truly poor, may even work harder to earn HOPE because they know that they have no other help, since you can’t estimate anything in high school about how much need-based aid may be awarded.
Be careful about labeling things in terms like “hypocrisy.” In order to stay poor, one must simply not get a good education, which often unfortunately happens when a student can’t finance one. You said, “in order to receive aid for being poor, one must stay poor,” but one can’t stop being poor (it’s their family!) unless they are given aid. It’s not like they’re trying to stay poor so that they’ll get need-based aid. No offense, your hypocrisy sentence just doesn’t make much sense to me.
Make sure you conclude your argument with a bang, perhaps by addressing an implication. Facts about the coverage and history of HOPE are probably not the strongest ending for this argument.
You did a great job staying on topic within each paragraph and using data and sources for appropriate support. It’s interesting to hear a little history to begin with. Good luck!

Evaluation from Jake1321:

Awesome paper! I was impressed with how you chose to introduce your position- it shows logic without being too pushy. However, I would like to see smoother transitions between paragraphs. . . . Don't let your thoughts jump around, they are so good!! Also, great job on citing your sources, they add a great mass of credibility to your paper. Be careful not to generalize too much near the end, otherwise- well done!!

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